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This past Sunday was the official opening of the Metropol Parasol – aka Las Setas (The Mushrooms). I stayed away from the celebrations but snapped this pic of it yesterday once everything was back to the usual work-a-day crowds. While it was going up, which took years, I hated the damn thing as much as everyone else seemed to and couldn’t imagine how such a monstrosity would “fit” into such a beautiful old city as Sevilla. Though it’s actually sitting in the middle of the Encarnación Plaza, which had its heart and soul cut out of it during a fit of sixties “rebuilding” which destroyed palaces and old houses and left a strip of hideous office buildings and storefronts. But I digress…

The Setas (how can you not call them that?) are on the original site of the Encarnación Market which was levelled and moved to a “temporary” site next door … about 35 years ago. I don’t know the whole story there other than the original site was pretty much a parking lot when I first moved to Sevilla in 1993, then they started digging it up and discovered ruins that held up any building for several years. And then they started constructing The Setas.

The market was shifted over just before Christmas last year and although the building is now officially “open” there’s still some construction going on. When the scaffolding first started coming down, unveiling the first seta (in the foreground of the photo) I was startled to find myself liking how elegant it looked, swooping up towards the sky. But as more of the structure became visible I became less entranced. So I remain undecided. I guess the real test will be how well the site ends up being used. Aside from the market there will be bars and restaurants (coming soon!), and there’s a big shaded area up on the first level which has a small playground for children, benches for adults, and will apparently be used for concerts. There is also a walkway along top of the structure with panoramic views of the city which residents of Sevilla will be able to access free of charge. Anyhow, for better or worse, there it is.

What do you think?

[also posted on the Sevilla Blog]